They are interesting little f**kers aren’t they. For some woman, they’re an after thought. They’ll produce a woman’s period, do their womanly duties which often leaves the woman indifferent on the subject. I envy those woman. If I met a genie and was granted one wish, it wouldn’t be money or appearance based, it would be take me back to 17 years ago and give me permanently functioning ovaries. No s***.
It all started back in 2011at age 21. I was a carefree, young adult. Marketing Assistant throughout the week, I was a seasoned party animal come the weekend. Every single Friday and Saturday for over three years I would go out with friends, stumbling back home Sunday night. Body fit, endurance strong, I was always in my element. Then I started noticing a niggle. I’ve get period pains out of the blue, twisting in my stomach. At first I thought I needed to cut back on my drinking, but then proceeded to get worse and worse. Few GP visits later and it was established I had a fluid filled sac attached to my ovary, known as an Ovarian Cyst. When they grow to 5cm or bigger, they become at risk of bursting. This little cyst was an aggressive one, rapidly growing over the space of a few months to 9cm by 11cm (the size of a tennis ball!!).
Ovarian cysts: Closed, sac-like structures within the ovary that are filled with a liquid or semisolid substance. Larger cysts are more likely to cause signs and symptoms such as: Pain in the abdomen, pelvis, sometimes radiating to the low back and nausea and vomiting.
In 2013, having dealt with sporadic abdominal pain for almost two years, I awoke on morning to find myself in agony. I was rushed to the emergency department and following an ultrasound, I was advised my cyst which was latched on and around my right ovary. Given 5 cm was often the point of rupture, the staff were surprised I wasn’t in there sooner. They wanted to operate via a laparoscopy that day.
Later that afternoon, I was morphined up and running through the procedure with the anesthetist when she asked me to go to the toilet. While doing my business I realised I was bleeding. I was surprised as not was not due at all. Slightly embarrassed I got back on the bed I started to tell her of my discovery. The next four minutes I will never forget. Someone may as well have stabbed me. The sheer bolt of pain that exploded and surged through my body from my abdomen was unreal. My entire body pulsating in agony I started screaming. A blurry flash of a hospital corridor, doctors with masks yelling at each other, I was somehow maneuvered onto the surgical table. The feeling of knives ripping me open from the inside, a flash of a gas mask, tears streaming down my face… and then I was out.
Coming back around I was completely disorientated. I knew where I was and that I was in a mass amount of pain. Surgeons later advised me that my cyst had ruptured just as I was about to head into surgery. From a mixture of fluid and blood, I was bleeding around my pelvis from the inside out. Had I not been in hospital, the outcome could have been very different for me.
Jump forward to 2015, aged 25, I’d recently moved back from living in Melbourne. Familiar pains, but isolated to the right side of my lower abdomen, I felt something was going to happen. With my boyfriend at the time, I awoke one morning at his house once again in excruciating pain. Zipped back to mum’s, dashed to emergency and an ultrasound later it was discovered I had an Tubo-ovarian Abscess.
Tubo-ovarian abscesses: Infections of the pelvic organs can involve the ovaries and Fallopian tubes. In severe cases, pus-filled cystic spaces may be present on, in, or around the ovary or tubes.
Straight through to my second laparoscopy, doctors drained the abscess but discovered my Fallopian Tube had experienced extreme torsion, twisting the tube and permanently damaging it. Following the surgery I got an infection and was required to take 12 antibiotics a day for 10 months until I was given the all clear. This amount of prescription antibiotics literally turned my tongue brown. Not a fun time.
Fast forward to 2017, aged 27. Experiencing once again, sporadic and random cramping, this time I was determined to stop an emergency visit (though I did experience a few when pains were unbearable). After a number of months I was diagnosed with Endometriosis. Unfortunately for me it turns out I’d in fact had Endometriosis since age 21, but it was missed in my surgical notes.
Endometriosis: A condition in which the layer of tissue that normally covers the inside of the uterus grows outside of it. Often found on ovaries and Fallopian tubes, nearly half of those affected have chronic pelvic pain which can lead to infertility.
Pushed on as a priority on the public waiting list, I was given a surgery slot in July 2017. Removing numerous adhesion’s, the gynecologist also did a Hysterosalpingogram. This is where the uterine cavity fills with dye. Dye fills the tubes and spills into the abdominal cavity. This shows whether the fallopian tubes are open or blocked. I woke from this surgery to be told my left side was blocked, meaning no eggs could be released from the ovary and pass through safely. This also meant that my right ovary would compensate, trying to do double the work and cause abdominal pains every other month. With all my history, this absolutely gutted me as it was just another roadblock in my journey to natural motherhood.